Victims of the Lagos school accident relived their experiences on Wednesday with a student of Babs Fafunwa Millennium Secondary School, Ojodu Berger, Adedokun Sadia, narrating how she re- suscitated one of her friends who was also involved in Tuesday's incident.
Sadia, a Senior Secondary School (SSS) 2 student, who was lucky to have only sustained bruises on her legs and hands, also recounted how the vehicle crushed some of her colleagues.
Sadia said: “It was closing time and I was going home with two of my friends, Bose and Christiana, when the incident happened.
“From nowhere, the vehicle suddenly rammed into us, very close to the taxi park. I fainted immediately and regained my consciousness after some minutes.
“When I opened my eyes, I saw that Christiana had a deep cut on her leg, while Bose was unconscious. I managed to stand up, looked for water around and poured it on her.
“A man joined me, put a spoon in Bose's mouth and started hitting her chest. It was when she opened her eyes that Road Safety officials came and we were taken to the hospital.
“I saw some students whose heads had been smashed by the vehicle.”
On her part, mother to two of the injured victims, Mrs Titilayo Ogunseye, recounted that she became worried when she did not see her two children hours after she heard of the incident.
She recalled: “I had just returned from where I went to pick my last born and was on my way out when I was called back and told about the incident.
“Immediately, I went to the school and did not see them. We also checked the hospitals around their school and couldn't find them. At that point, I fainted.
“It was later that the doctor from the hospital called me that they were in his hospital and we rushed there. One is here in Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and the other is at the Ambulance and Emergency Centre at the 7up toll gate.”
Ogunseye, however, commended the Lagos State government for taking responsibility for the medical bills of the injured students.
“Since we came here, they have not asked us for any money. Now we want to go and do an x-ray on her head,” Ogunseye said.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Tribune gathered that as of Wednesday afternoon, some of the victims of the accident were yet to have their families identify them.
Two of such students are in critical condition at the Surgical Emergency Section of LASUTH in Ikeja. Similarly, authorities of the school are yet to ascertain the total number of students involved in the accident.
Meanwhile, it took the intervention of policemen and members of the Oodua Peoples Congress (OPC) to dislodge angry protesters, mostly students on Wednesday morning as they attempted to set on fire the Ojodu office of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC). The action was in protest over Tuesday's accident where a truck killed some students, with some others sustaining varying degrees of injury.
The attack began in the morning at the Berger Roundabout with the mob vandalising trucks sited in the area.
Afterwards, the mob moved to the Ojodu office of the FRSC, throwing stones and other dangerous items at the building.
Though the police arrived to disperse the mob with teargas, the adamant protesters regrouped at the Berger Roundabout and were about embarking on another round of destruction when they were chased away by the police and OPC members.
Nigerian Tribune saw that the OPC members positioned themselves at strategic locations around the FRSC office to ward off further attacks.
The violent protest paralysed all activities at the Road Safety office as visitors were not allowed in.
A dispatch rider who came to deliver a message was angrily sent back by the OPC members.
Meanwhile, tension remained high around the school area as some parents who earlier released their children to come to school, returned later to take them home for fear of hoodlums possibly turning the incident into another crisis. Also, the state governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, while expressing deep sorrow over the death of the students, ordered the immediate closure of the school till January.
This is as he stated that investigation was progressing with the arrest of the driver of the truck. As contained in a condolence message signed by his Chief Press Secretary (CPS), Mr Gboyega Akosile, Governor Sanwo-Olu described the death of the students as sad, unfortunate and avoidable. He prayed to God to heal the survivors, who are receiving treatment at the hospitals.
Earlier, the state Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folasade Adefisayo, explained that with the closing of the school, all the students would continue with their first term examination as a make-up exercise when the schools resume generally in January.
She said the students had done with the classwork for the term and were only writing their first term exam when the incident happened, and asking them to go home would not have significant effect on their studies.
While she did not disclose the actual number of students who died in the accident and those injured, she said such information would be supplied in the official statement of the state government to be issued by 12:00 noon, which was not made available to newsmen, even as of 3.45 p.m. when filing in this report.
She, however, noted that those injured would be moved from private to government hospitals for proper medical attention.
Also, President Muhammadu Buhari, former Lagos governor, Senator Bola Tinubu; chairman of Ojodu Local Council Development Area, Mr Olusegun Odumbaku; lawmaker representing Ikeja 2 State Constituency, Mr Adedamola Kazeem, among others, sent in separate condolence messages over the incident.
Buhari, in a statement issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, condoled with the government and people of Lagos State and the authorities of the school over what he described as sad and painful loss of promising lives.
He prayed that God comforts the grieving parents and relations, and grant the injured quick recovery.
On his part, Tinubu commiserated with Governor Sanwo-Olu, chairman of Ojudu Local Council Development Authority, Mr Odumbaku, and the families, friends and loved ones of all those who died in Wednesday's incident. He called on the security agencies to thoroughly investigate the “preventable and tragic incident.”
The trio of Chairman of Ojodu Local Council Development Area, lawmaker representing Ikeja 2 State Constituency, Mr Adedamola Kazeem; state Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Mrs Lola Akande, who visited the school, described the incident as tragic and unfortunate.
They sympathised with the families of the late students and wished the injured ones a quick recovery.
However, amid perceptions about circumstances that led to the accident, the General Manager of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Bolaji Oreagba, has described as unsubstantiated those claims that officials of the agency were involved in the accident.
Oreagba, in a statement signed by the agency's Assistant Director, Public Affairs, Mr. Filade Olumide, said from preliminary reports, the driver was believed to have lost control of the vehicle probably because of mechanical faults.
He urged the public to await the outcome of the investigation being conducted by the police into the matter.
“LASTMA does not have a traffic management duty post around the accident scene and all patrol personnel had reported back to base for daily parade as of the time the accident occurred, leaving only those at their traffic management posts,” Oreagba noted.